Thursday, June 8, 2017

Birthday Trip 2017

Often for my birthday, I ask Robyn for a trip rather than presents.  I've found that I generally enjoy the experiences and the memories more than the things.  So she indulges me and lets me plan a small trip.

I was undecided about where to go until Robyn pointed out that there was a new temple in Wyoming.  That became the obvious answer as to where we should go.  So I planned a trip to Afton, Wyoming.

We also have another annual tradition where I take a half day off of work and go meet Robyn's students.  We decided that this particular day would be a good day to do it because then we could leave from Robyn's school and get a head start on our trip.

Then it turned out that Robyn's school had their end of year faculty party on the same day.  It meant that we didn't get off on our trip quite as quickly as we had planned, but I got to mingle with a few of Robyn's coworkers which was fun.

One of her coworkers was making balloon animals as part of the event.  I told her I wanted a pikachu.  I mostly meant it as a joke, figuring that she only did real animals and not pokemon.  But she totally made me a pikachu!

I think she did a pretty good job.  It was a great beginning to my birthday extravaganza.
After the elementary school festivities we began our road trip.  Afton is about a 4 hour drive, so we were able to get into town in time for a dinner that was only a little later than normal.  After dinner I told Robyn I needed a picture next to the most important landmark in Afton.  It's the world's largest elk-horn arch.

I'm not sure how many elk-horn arches there are in the world.  But apparently they are all smaller than this one.
I know it kind of looks like I'm getting a picture with that red car, but you're supposed to pay attention to the arch made out of antlers.

There's also a smaller bonus arch that you walk through to cross the street.
After that it was time to go to the hotel for important activities like sleeping.  The next morning was my actual birthday.  When I awoke, I got to open a card custom made by my niece.  I openned it up and laughed for a solid minute.
How great is this?
The morning activity was to go to the temple.  It's a tiny little temple, and they didn't have room for us to do an endowment session, so we did some sealings instead.  We got to sit and chat with the sealer for a while.  I love visiting temples in small towns, they just seem so much more personal.

The obligatory picture of Robyn next to flowers ar the temple is very important.
After the temple we had some lunch and then explored some of the great outdoors.  We wanted to hike to the world's largest intermittent spring.
This car was in the parking lot at the trailhead.  People in Wyoming just get it.  Am I right?

Cute little hiker.

Less cute little hiker.

Wilderness selfie

The sign explaining the intermittent spring.
So I've watched videos on youtube.  The river basically turns off and on when the spring turns off and on.  I wanted to experience the off and on nature of it, but it turns out that this early in the season there is so much runoff that it just keeps flowing.  We hung out at the spring for probably close to an hour but it just kept flowing.  Nevertheless, it was a really pretty area.

You can hike up to where the spring comes out of the rock, but we didn't want to hike over the ice.  So we just watched the river flow down from it.
I was a little disappointed to not experience the on/off nature of the spring, but the internet had warned me that labor day weekend is not the best time to go.  I actually was glad that we got as far as we did, because other years you wouldn't have even been able to make the hike because of so much snow.  So we got to see some pretty nature and that was good enough for me.

Sunday morning we departed back for home so I could celebrate my birthday with my parents and siblings.  But that morning I took walk around town to just see what there is to see.  Early morning walks in small towns are great.  These pics won't capture the quiet serenity of my morning walk, but they're kind of fun.
A random bear that was asking for a selfie.

The Star Valley Stake Tabernacle.  Why doesn't my stake have a tabernacle?

Just a park at the edge of town.  I loved that this town was nestled in wilderness.
All in all, it was a great birthday.  I couldn't ask for anything better.
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